"It’s a great cause, doing life-changing work and I’m really proud to be part of that."

Sleep Out is our largest fundraising event of the year. Campaigning to end youth homelessness, the event challenges people to spend one night outside so local young people don’t have to. The money raised at Sleep Out helps to support local vulnerable young people, who may not have had the best start in life, to take their next steps towards independence and to finally feel hopeful of a better future. Sleep Out does not aim to replicate homelessness, but it does give participants just a small glimpse of some of the challenges homeless people may face.

Saffron Housing  is just one of the teams from local businesses and organisations who will be taking part in Norwich Sleep Out at Carrow Road on Thursday 11th November. Having taken part in previous years, we spoke to Catherine Hodds, Saffron Housing’s Director of People and Culture about why they are proud to support Norwich Sleep Out once again:

“I’ve done two Sleep Outs for The Benjamin Foundation before and am signed up to 2021.  I wanted to both support The Benjamin Foundation and raise awareness of the issue of youth homelessness.

Sleep Out is not what I expected it to be that’s for sure! It’s surprisingly enjoyable, which isn’t the first thing that you expect when you’re spending the night outside. There’s a great sense of togetherness from everyone involved, it’s a long night and you need to be prepared for an uncomfortable and sometimes noisy experience but it’s so worth doing that any temporary discomfort disappears pretty quickly.

For me it’s not the Sleep Out itself where the real impact happens – it doesn’t replicate homelessness; we’re safe, pretty warm, well looked after and have access to loos and fresh water.

Once you pack everything up, say goodbye to everyone and head back home knowing you don’t have to do it again for 365 more days, that’s when it hits me.  It’s a really sobering drive home and it really deepens your understanding of, and empathy for, people who have none of the things that are so basic and that we take for granted. It hits me then simply because I can just go home, and so many people wake up and face another day not knowing where they are going to sleep, if they’ll eat or if they’ll be safe.

My memorable moments from Sleep Out include briefing videos about where the money goes – it always gets me. My advice to people new to Sleep Out this year is to wear layers and bring a book as it can be quite a long night, so it’s good to have some thing to while away the time. I also bring a yoga mat so there’s a barrier between the ground.

It will be the third time I’ve done Sleep Out so it can be tricky to motivate people to give but our team page on JustGiving is a great way to promote it.  I share the page on social media and use persuasion on my relatives!  Our Comms team promote it internally as well.

People shouldn’t have to sleep on the street, simple as that really. It’s a great cause, doing life-changing work and I’m really proud to be part of that.

It’s a really thought provoking, fun, impactful experience that you will get a lot out of being part of.”

Booking for Norwich Sleep Out 2021 closes on 08/11/21 but you can still make a donation to support local young people to finally feel safe and hopeful of a better future by visiting our JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/norwichsleepout2021 

Quote Marks Left The Benjamin Foundation impacts the lives of so many people – it’s an amazing charity and a huge inspiration.

Maxine, Youth Support Worker - The Benjamin Foundation

Quote Marks Right